Nourishing Touch

Last week I was assisting with a Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy training here in Vancouver BC. The tutor for this block was Steve Haines, this was my first time meeting him. He teaches in London and Switzerland as well as on the Body Intelligence courses which happen all over the world. It is really great getting a different teacher, and finding out how they do things. Steve Haines style is very verbal as well as very open and precise. I found it rather challenging, to be honest, because being verbal is probably the area that I have the most trouble with. I like to be quiet and just listen to the client’s system.

When I stopped and thought about it during the training this week, I realised that every time I had a really powerful session where a lot of trauma was released, it was often sparked by a little comment made at the right moment by the practitioner. Steve also did a wonderful thing for me, right in the first couple hours of the training. He was giving a demonstration to the class, using me as the client, and in doing so he noticed that my left leg was disassociated from my body. Interestingly this is the leg that I smashed up in the bike accident that finally spurred me into doing the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy training in the first place.

Early in the week, one of the students made a comment about how vital and nourishing touch is, and how we have become a culture that sadly lacks in this basic human need. It is this simple fact that makes Craniosacral therapy work so quickly and so successfully. To be truly listened to through touch is such a deep and affirming experience. Our bodies quickly remember how to heal. In fact, they remember this by remembering how they grew in the first place, which is the reason that embryology is such an important part of the training.

Just a short basic phrase, like “How do you feel in your body right now?” is so helpful in a session, bringing the client back into the sensation of the body and present. One of my favorite points that Steve stressed a few times over the five days, was that we need our bodies to show us how to heal. We evolved to overcome trauma, so we all have the ability to do so, it is part of our genetic make-up. For us to heal, the healing needs to go all the way to the physiology to change. We can’t do it by going deeper into the ego, we cant do it by thinking our way out of it and we can’t do it by going deeper into an emotion. For the change to be permanent the very tissues of our body need to release the trauma and to re-integrate into the flow of the whole body.

In the first couple of hands on practices that I had to fill in for (there was an uneven number of students) my body really needed to release the nervous discharge that had built up, probably from the leg injury that Steve helped to get moving again, maybe from other traumas I have had over the last few years, but in both sessions I got really cold and started shaking, which came in waves and also emotional release, with crying. It was more scary for the students than for me, since I knew what was going on and knew that I had been needing this sort of release for years. I hope that I didn’t freak them out too much!

Although in my process I thought I knew where all of this was coming from–as Steve kept reminding us–it isn’t necessary to have that type of meaning or understanding around the release or injury, we won’t heal it by thinking about it.

“Meaning is not essential to change, BODY is essential.”

This really resonates for me because, as I mentioned, I am not a very verbal person. Going to psychotherapy is just a traumatic event in and of itself for me and so it is a relief to know that healing work done on a deeper, pre-verbal level is so completely effective.

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